Thursday 15 December 2011

Wondrous Words Wednesday 14/12/11

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a fabulous weekly meme hosted by Bermuda Onion, where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our weekly reading.  

Julian Barnes' The Pedant in the Kitchen was such a rich source of Wondrous Words that I have more this week. I blogged the first installment back on November 23.

1. Risible (Adjective)

We've all done some pretty risible things in our time- I know a Canadian novelist who once tried to make pesto from dried basil- but nothing quite as risible as this.

i) Relating to laughter or used in eliciting laughter
ii) Eliciting laughter; ludicrous
iii) Capable of laughing or inclined to laugh. The Free Dictionary.

2. Strimmer (Noun)

I shan't enter the absorbing debate- a recent long-runner among correspondents to the Guardian- over how to peel one without blubbing, except to warn you that if, as I once did, you try wearing a pair of strimmer's goggles, the plastic lens will quickly steam up and there will be much blood on the chopping board.

Moderately obvious from context, and easily solved by a Google image search, but I'd never come across strimmer before. It is what we Aussies would call a whipper snipper.

Picture source

3. Obeisance (Noun)

In any case, what do cookbook writers want? More obeisance?

i) A gesture or movement of the body, such as a curtsy, that expresses deference or homage.
ii) An attitude of deference or homage. The Free Dictionary.

4. Voluptuaries (Noun)

Perhaps there really were houses with a butler's pantry; perhaps voluptuaries really did pile slag heaps of soft fruit on to stemmed porcelain display plates, and serve dishes of stuffed quail in the shape of a Ruritanian crown.

A person whose life is given over to luxury and sensual pleasures; a sensualist. The Free Dictionary.

5. Marmande (Noun)

"Now we might extend the picture to include high-rise blocks, patched with vegetation on every balcony- Marmande and plum tomatotes in pots, herbs in window-boxes, courgettes and squashes trailing round the doors.

Marmande is a variety of tomato, and also a town in France.

Picture credit

6. Capybara (Noun)

His alimentary canal has down the years played host to cayman, capybara, rat, agouti, armadillo, monkey, monitor lizard, maggots, palm-grubs, and other life forms.

Capybara is the largest rodent in the world. They live in  South America.

Picture from wiki

7. Mangel-wurzel

Similarly 'magel-wurzel'. This began life as 'mangold-wurzel', literally 'root of the beet'; but people (German people, that is) misheard it as 'mangel-wurzel', 'root of scarcity'.

It is a root crop generally grown as fodder for stock, but can be eaten by people too.

Picture from wiki

8. Toby jug (Noun)

Having Mrs Beeton on your shelf was like having a chromolithograph of Queen Victoria on the wall, or a toby jug of Florence Nightingale. It was both reassuring and a vaguely patriotic statement. 

A Toby jug is a pottery jug in the form of a seated person, or the head of a recognizable person (often an English king). Wiki.  The Americans even have a Toby jug museum.

Picture credit


Annie said...

The Toby jug is so cute ! I knew partly the other words (risible, obéissance, Marmande) because they look like French but never saw "capybaras". I wonder what to do with a stimmer in a kitchen !

Anonymous said...

The capybara is a little scary.

Kath Lockett said...

"Oi you! How dare you use your strimmer on my mangel wurzel! I demand obeisance from risible voluptuaries such as you and if I don't get it you'll be getting a visit from my capybara!"

Lisa said...

A couple of those were familiar, but those are some really wonderful words! I like the book already!

bermudaonion said...

I knew Toby jug! I love strimmer - it's much easier than string trimmer.

Lady In Read said...

I knew Obeisance, Risible, and Capybara. Risible from watching 'Akeelah and the Spelling Bee' (I think)
some are familiar but did not know what they really meant.. strimmer - totally new

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

We call them "weed whackers" but "strimmer" has a much nicer sound. I think that "risible" is a word that should become part of my working vocabulary. It seems a bit onomatopoeia-ish - hehehe.


Jennifer said...

Glad to finally know what a toby-jug is (and equally glad to know what the name is for those little gnome-like jugs!). Rumpole taught me risible, reading about ancient Egypt a lot taught me obeisance. Capybara I must have picked up on the Discovery Channel or something, back when they actually showed programming that taught people things.
The Beauty of Eclecticism

Anonymous said...

I knew Toby Jugs because my grandma and then my mum had some. I've always liked them. I knew quite a few of the other words but "strimmer" is a new one for me.

Anonymous said...

And of course, there's always Wurzel Gummage.

Louise said...

That's hysterical Kath!

Janine- I've never read wurzel gummage! Wonder if he's made of magel-wurzels?